Surviving the Storms Surviving the Storms - Page 4

is the first time this number of resources have come together to work in a cohesive manner, according to

Rhodes. "Just from the VA, we brought in a mobile field hospital, mobile pharmacy, Vet Center, Medical Unit and Command Center," he said.

Operations for the multi-organization exercise were staged at the expansive, 40-acre Palm Beach County Fire Rescue complex.

“This site is a great location for this type of exercise because of the footprint that’s available to us,” said Nigel Baker of Palm Beach Fire Rescue, the local organization that hosted the exercise. Baker was the exercise’s Deputy Incident Commander and is the Team Coordinator of the Region 7 All-Hazards Incident Management Team.

The AHIMT is comprised of

experts in all areas of emergency management in Florida. During Sunshine Endeavor, the AHIMT served as Incident Command.

Exercise planners, controllers and evaluators worked out of the mobile Command Center and Joint Information Center to direct and support the large assembly of emergency response forces.

A drenching rain the days before and during the exercise made for wet clothes, soggy feet, stifling

heat and certainly less-than-optimal working conditions.

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The Storm Advances

Ensuring the Safety of Our Most Vulnerable Veterans

On Sept. 9, 2017, in advance of Hurricane Irma, VA’s hospital in Bay Pines, Fla., transferred over 100 of their most vulnerable patients to sister VA facilities in Tampa, Orlando and Gainesville.

Once the storm had passed and it was safe to leave, patients were transported back to Bay Pines.

Video by Melvin Abreu

Ready to Help

Dr. Miguel LaPuz (white shirt), VA’s Acting Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Health, joined James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Director Joe Battle in visiting a special needs shelter at the University of South Florida Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla. on Sept. 12, 2017. The leaders met with Veterans who had evacuated their homes at the approach of Hurricane Irma, assuring them the VA was standing by to help.